Before Argyle’s game against Frisco Lone Star on March 26, Eagles coach Ricky Griffin could feel it coming.
His team had been cruising through its schedule. And then it lost to Lone Star by one run.
It was an awakening for the Eagles, who have resumed rolling despite the rain that’s dampened their progress. Argyle (21-3, 3-1 district) will play Carrollton Ranchview at 7 tonight in a game that was postponed this week because of the weather.
Argyle is the No. 4 team in Class 3A, according to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Griffin said the loss to Lone Star has sharpened his team as it approaches the end of the season.
“I think it woke them up and showed that anybody can beat them,” Griffin said. “Since then, our concentration level has definitely gone up.”
In that contest, Griffin said, a combination of strong opposing pitching, poor at-bats and a lackluster mentality caused the Eagles to stumble.
“We won quite a few games in a row [before the Lone Star game], and I saw it building where we kind of lost a little bit of our intensity,” Griffin said. “We got off the bus over there at their place and we weren’t exactly ready to play. I think we just thought that we could get off and automatically win.”
The team picked up nondistrict wins over former district rival Sanger and Class 5A’s Rowlett. In both games, junior Brandon Boyzuick lifted the Eagles with his bat.
Against Sanger, Boyzuick hit a grand slam in an 11-1 victory. Then on Saturday, Argyle found itself down by two runs to Rowlett, a team currently in third place in District 11-5A.
Boyzuick stepped to the plate and hit a three-run, walk-off home run for an 8-7 victory.
Griffin said the junior shortstop has been seeing the ball very well over the last couple of games and is producing like the coach thought he could.
Griffin said Wednesday that he also was pleased with the way his team has been pitching. The pitching effort has been aided by senior catcher Dillon Harp, who has been entrusted with pitch-calling duties by his head coach.
It’s the first time in 20 years that Griffin has allowed his catcher to dictate which pitches are going to be hurled.
“I let him do it this year, and he’s kind of taken it and run with it,” Griffin said.
Ryan’s offense slowly coming around
The Ryan Raiders came close Tuesday night to repeating a feat they didn’t want to accomplish again.
After starting district play by being no-hit by Flower Mound Marcus’ Conner Dotson, Ryan ran the risk of being no-hit by Flower Mound. After drawing several walks in the fourth inning, Ryan broke up the no-hitter in the fifth on a line drive into center field by senior Chris McKeehan.
Ryan coach Bret Warnack said Tuesday that his team is starting to make progress at the plate.
“We’re seeing some tough, tough pitching,” Warnack said. “Those guys have some arms they can run out there at you, and I think our hitters are growing as hitters and think we’re getting better and better the more we come out. It takes a long time and a lot of repetition to become a good hitter, and we’re getting through that.”
McKeehan, a Texas-Pan American signee, is the only Raider with at least 40 at-bats to be hitting over .300. On Tuesday against the Jaguars, the Raiders struggled against the No. 3 pitcher in Flower Mound’s rotation.
Prior to Tuesday’s game, Ryan was batting .153 in district play, while opponents were batting .294. However, McKeehan said the team has improved at the plate throughout the year.
“I think as we’re going on we’re starting to see the ball a little bit better and adjust to the pitching, but we’re definitely still not where we need to be against these good pitchers,” McKeehan said. “They’re definitely a step above us still at the plate.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 or via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.